The Dog Room designed by respected Melbourne architect Michael Ong, is an indoor and outdoor living space for man’s best friend. Pen relaunched this award-winning product using locally-sourced materials in collaboration with HELP Enterprises. A year on from it’s re-launch we reflect upon the unique partnership between Pen and HELP Manufacturing.
HELP is a social enterprise focused on training and finding employment for persons living with disabilities. The partnership with HELP is a proof point of how we want to conduct our business. To learn more about Jackson’s story and the positive impact of working at HELP watch here
In the last two years, we’ve spent a lot of time re-evaluating our manufacturing process. We have sought out the best manufacturing professionals to make our quality pieces in a way that fits best into our company ethos. When when the opportunity arose to work with HELP Enterprises manufacturing division we leapt at the chance. Instead of a simple re-release through this partnership we could now re-work our popular kennel to be locally made here in Australia and to enhance its design excellence by revamping its social, economic, and environmental good.
“When brands like Made by Pen choose HELP, they’re not just getting a quality product, they’re providing meaningful opportunities for people with disability.” Trevyn, Help’s Workshop Supervisor
We asked HELP to speak to us a little bit about what they think of the partnership and making the Dog Room. Unanimously, the team said they are proud to be making these products. The skills they are learning, and the meaningful impact of the work is changing their lives.
Trev has supervised the team at HELP for more than 6 years. He says that although it can take more training for workers at HELP, he sees their dedication there on the shop floor. Being part of the HELP team has helped Trev look at the world in a different way, and appreciate the diverse experience and skills that people with disability bring to the table.
For production workers Jackson and Kenny employment within the manufacturing division has enabled them to learn a large variety of skills, including hard skills such as forklift training and welding, and the opportunity to learn soft skills that help them in their everyday lives, such as communication and problem-solving.
Importantly, Kenny and Jackson are given the opportunity to work as a team, projects such as the Dog Room allow the team to stay connected and work together for the same goal. For Kenny, seeing what he’s accomplished in the final product is the best part.
Our partnership with HELP reflects many of our beliefs and values at Pen – we believe that the process of how we provide our product must be just as good as our product.We recognise that value is more than just the tangible costs of the product. We want the worth of our products to come through from the start of the research and design through to the manufacturing and shipping.
At Pen, our goal is to make the places we work, live, and play all more functional and beautiful. This is just one part of a more extensive process of partnering with Australia’s most innovative and inspiring designers, and architects for each of our products.
By maintaining our company ethos through every step of the manufacturing process, we hope to be respecting people while breaking barriers. One in three people at HELP have a disability. They are helping to inspire diversity and inclusion in more workplaces, which we fully support. But, more than that, HELP is helping us to deliver market-leading products that add value to the world.
Above all, our core value is doing things for the good. We hope to deliver meaningful and quality designs out into the world through an equally virtuous manufacturing process.